LaGrange head coach Steve Pardue, right, has stepped down as the Grangers head coach. He d been the head coach since 1994, and he won more than 160 games and three state titles.
LaGrange head coach Steve Pardue, right, has stepped down as the Grangers' head coach.
He'd been the head coach since 1994, and he won more than 160 games and three state titles.
There was no epiphany, no dramatic moment that made Steve Pardue
realize it was time to hang up his
No, Pardue has just had a feeling for awhile that this would be his final season as LaGrange High's head football coach, and he made that official on Monday when he told the school's principal that he was stepping down.
told the players this morning, and the announcement on his
replacement is expected to come this week.
"I don't like the term retiring.
I'm not retiring," Pardue
"I'm just going to change what I'm doing right now."
leaves behind an extraordinary legacy of winning at LaGrange High
came to the school as an assistant coach in 1991, and the Grangers won a state title that year.
Pardue became the head coach in 1994, and over the next 17 years, he amassed a record of 161-46 that included three state championships, five trips to the semifinals, and eight region titles.
is a man, Branch said, who made everyone around him feel that the team could accomplish anything.
doesn't know what he's
going to do next, he
just felt it was time to step away from his
"I'm at peace, and I'm excited about whatever's next," he
"I know from a personal standpoint I've got to find something that's real time-consuming."
What that is he
doesn't know right now.
He talked about possibly working in athletic administration, and of course he hasn't ruled out a return to coaching.
did say that he
probably won't remain at LaGrange High next season as a teacher.
"I'm kind of anxious," he
"It's a leap of faith.
I prayed about it, and I trust the Lord.
I usually have a plan for everything I do.
I don't like to fly by the seat of my pants."
coach Bubba Jeter, who faced Pardue
plenty of times as an assistant coach and head coach at Troup, has great appreciation for what his
former coaching rival accomplished.
"Coach Pardue is a man who has instilled great character and work ethic into his players," said Wiggins, who is now the senior head coach in Troup County with six years at Callaway.
wife, Pam, arrived at LaGrange in 1991, and they soon realized this is the place they wanted to call home.
After 20 years, Pardue
appreciation for his
school and the community has only grown.
"I'm blessed that I found LaGrange
Pardue, who grew up in Kentucky and played football at Austin Peay University, came to Georgia in 1985 to be an assistant at Fayette County High under Conrad Nix.
After four years there, an opening arose on the LaGrange High
staff, and Pardue
applied for the position and got it.
coached linebackers in 1991, and the Grangers went 15-0 and won a state title and the USAnational title that season.
also coached the offensive line and was the offensive coordinator before Gary Guthrie resigned to take over the Rome High program.
The school named Pardue
the new head coach, and the rest is history.
has won a lot of games, and he
and Pam have raised a family here.
They have two children, Morgan, a 2007 graduate of LaGrange, and Chas, a freshman at LaGrange.
"I was thinking the other day, we've been here 20 years," Pardue
"I've spent more time in LaGrange than Ihave at any place in my life.
"People ask me where my home is, my response is LaGrange.
This is home."
had plenty of opportunities to go elsewhere, but he
family loved living here, and he
didn't want to go elsewhere.
Finally, though, he
felt the time was right, although the decision was not an easy one.
"It would have been easy if I didn't feel that way about this town," he